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Coronavirus cases worldwide now top 1 million

Hospitals in crisis during coronavirus outbreak
Hospitals overwhelmed as coronavirus cases skyrocket 03:06

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 1 million on Thursday — sooner than even top public health officials had anticipated. The number of deaths also soared past 51,000.

As of Thursday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University reports more than 1,002,000 confirmed cases around the world. The U.S. by far has the highest number of confirmed cases — over 236,000, including more than 5,600 deaths.

The White House this week said it anticipates 100,000 to 240,000 Americans to die from coronavirus, even with social distancing measures. Without those measures, health officials estimated more than 2 million could die.

Thirty-eight states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have issued stay-at-home orders — putting about 300 million Americans under restrictions. Even in states without sweeping orders, many cities and counties have issued such rules, closing non-essential businesses and schools.

Italy currently has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world, with 13,915 reported.

The grim numbers came less than a day after the World Health Organization said that 1 million cases, and 50,000 deaths, would be coming in the next few days. 

"Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing Wednesday at the organization's headquarters in Geneva.

"The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week."

He said he was deeply concerned about the "rapid escalation and global spread of infection."

Tedros said that developing countries that have not yet reported many cases, including nations in Central America, South America and Africa, need support now in order to prepare for outbreaks and the economic damage that will follow. 

"It's critical that we ensure these countries are well-equipped to detect, test, isolate, and treat cases, and identify contacts," he said.

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